While there are many things to love about Charleston, including the history of the city and the architecture, perhaps the best feature of the Charleston area are the five distinct beach islands that surround the city itself. Isle of Palms, Sullivans Island, Folly Beach, Kiawah Island and Seabrook Island are all literally surrounding the Charleston Peninsula.
The really nice thing about these barrier islands are the fact that each one has its own distinct feel and character.
Located 12 miles from downtown Charleston, the Isle of Palms is surrounded by the Intracoastal Waterway, Atlantic Ocean, Breach Inlet, and Sullivan's Island. With miles of beautiful wide beaches, championship golf, tennis, parks, a marina and local restaurants and shops, there is something for everyone. The Isle of Palms' nearly 2,880 acres includes a thriving local business district surrounded by residences, miles of beach, and a community where you'll find beachfront live music at the Windjammer, bathing-suit clad kids eating ice cream, beach volleyball, and families kicking back to enjoy it all.
Just north of the mouth of Charleston Harbor lies Sullivans Island. At just 3.3 miles, Sullivan's Island is one of Charleston's smaller islands but yet may arguably one of it's nicest. Nestled between the Charleston Harbor and the Isle of Palms, Sullivans Island is considered by most to be charming and beautiful. The beachfront lands are owned by the town and are protected. Sullivans Island is located just minutes away from downtown Charleston. With wide beaches and watersports, history and folklore, restaurants and shops, Sullivan's Island is a wonderful place to spend the day or week.
Otherwise known as "The Edge of America". Located just 15 miles from downtown Charleston, Folly Beach has an eclectic and laidback feel. With wide beaches, solid surfing, friendly neighborhoods and a sense of community with locally-onwed shops and restaurants, Folly Beach is a great place to have fun, relax and reconnect. Located between the Folly River and the Atlantic Ocean, and separated from Island by wide, undeveloped marshes, waterways and tidal creeks, Folly Beach is also home to loggerhead turtles, dolphins, bald eagles and sea birds. With beaches, boating, kayaks, paddle boards, surfing, fishing and swimming, Folly Beach is a really great destination for those who love the Salt Life.
A short 21 mile drive away from Charleston's vibrant downtown, Kiawah Island is a barrier island that combines the beauty and serenity of untouched natural marsh land, rivers, tidal creeks and ten miles of pristine Atlantic Ocean beaches along with maritime forests, sand dunes, and marshes filled with nature, with luxurious housing and resort style living, including five championship golf courses. As South Carolina's crown jewel of golf, the magnificent Kiawah Island Golf Resort, provides the perfect setting to take in all facets of the islands beauty and recreation opportunities.
Located just to the south of Kiawah Island, Seabrook Island is just 30 minutes away from downtown Charleston. As a private oceanfront community, Seabrook has natural splendor, marshes, beautiful beaches and deep water marina. The waterfront provides opportunities for swimming, horseback riding on the beach, kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing and boating.